Hammond-Harwood House
The Hammond-Harwood House in Annapolis, Maryland, United States, is one of the premier colonial houses remaining in America from the British colonial period (1607”“1776). It is the only existing work of colonial academic architecture that was principally designed from a plate in Andrea Palladio’s I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura , 1570, (The Four Books of Architecture). The house was designed by the architect William Buckland in 1773-74 for wealthy farmer Matthias Hammond of Anne Arundel County, Maryland. It was modeled on the design of the Villa Pisani in Montagnana, Italy in Book II, Chapter XIV of I Quattro Libri dell’Achitettura.

Construction on the house began in, or around, April 1774 and a majority of the house was probably completed before the death of the architect in November or December of the same year. Patron Matthias Hammond probably never occupied his elegant house because he abruptly left Annapolis for his family's country estate in 1776. He died in 1786 after renting the house for many years. The house passed to his nephews John and then Philip Hammond who eventually sold the house to Ninian Pinkney in 1810. Pinkney, however quickly sold the house to Judge Jeremiah Townley Chase in 1811. Judge Chase bought the house as a home for the family of his daughter Frances Townley Chase Loockerman. He was well acquainted with the house because he rented the northeast wing beginning in the late 1770s. Judge Chase’s descendants lived in the house until the death of his great-granddaughter Hester Ann Harwood in 1924. Judge Chase’s granddaughter married William Harwood, the great-grandson of William Buckland the architect of the house. Hester Ann Harwood died intestate and the house was sold in 1926 to St. John’s College. The College used the house as a teaching tool for one of America’s first courses taught on the decorative arts until financial necessity forced the college to sell to the Hammond-Harwood House Association in 1940. This non-profit corporation continues to own the house and uses it as a museum that is open to the public.

The house ranks architecturally with many of the great mansions built in the late Colonial period; however, it is the only house directly inspired from a plate in Palladio’s, I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura . It is arguably the most exquisite house remaining from the Colonial period in America. Architect William Buckland cleverly adapted Palladio's Villa Pisani design to satisfy the tastes of colonial Annapolis. He re-designed the plan to accommodate the tastes for asymmetrical regional preferences and modified the hyphens from Palladio's arched entries to more practical single storey connecting links. He also incorporated fashionable urban design by sinking the windows in the method mandated by the London Building Act of 1774. This device provided better protection from fire and gave the overall design a greater degree of visual solidity and three dimensionality (see image at right). This adaptation from Palladio's model marks his maturity as an architect and ranks him as one of America's first and finest architects. The initial design of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello was taken from the Villa Cornaro in Piombino Dese, Italy, in Book II, Chapter XV of I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura, but this façade was later covered up by Jefferson’s own expansions to his house. Thomas Jefferson made two drawings of the Hammond-Harwood House when he served the government in Annapolis in 1783-4. One could assume that Jefferson recognized the house as derived from Palladio because his knowledge of The Four Books of Architecture was extensive. He referred to the book as his architectural “bible” and the plate of the Villa Cornaro follows the Villa Pisani plate; and directly opposite the Villa Cornaro in some 18th century English transcriptions of the work. The Hammond-Harwood House was featured in Bob Vila's A&E Network production, Guide to Historic Homes of America, in the two-hour segment on the Mid-Atlantic States.

The Hammond-Harwood House is a five-part brick house with a five-bay two-story central block, two-story end wings and one-story connecting hyphens on either side. The central block has a shallow hipped roof. The wings project toward the street with three-sided hipped-roof bays. The hyphens are rendered as a blind arcade, with the central bay a door opening with a pediment above. There is little decoration, with plain rubbed brick flat arches over the windows. Ornament is confined to the central bay, whose door is framed by engaged Ionic columns and topped by a fanlight. Above the door the second floor window is framed with a surround and entablature. The interior presents the appearance of symmetry where it is in fact not symmetrical, using false doors where necessary to maintain the illusion. The main rooms are the first-floor dining room and the second-floor ballroom immediately above, at the rear of the house overlooking the garden. The dining room features an opening, centered in the facade, that is treated as a door on the outside and as a window on the inside.

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